Sensory bins are a great way for kids to expand their senses (sight, touch, smell) while also encouraging them to be creative while learning.
Step 1: Materials
- Clear plastic bin with lid: big enough to contain all of the filler items. (I got mine at Target)
- Scissors (if items are in a package)
- Rag/washcloth (can use any cloth to wipe out the bin)
- Filler items to go into the bin:
- Beans: 2 bags of 24 oz. pinto beans
- Plastic, silk bouquet of flowers
- Silk leaves
- Tiny multi-colored drinking glasses
- Plastic colorful bugs
- Silk butterflies
All of the filler items were found at the local dollar store.
I chose items that could be found in a garden, but you can choose any items to go into the bin that you want your child to learn about. The possibilities are limitless.
Safety warning: The materials used in the bin are small and can be swallowed (beans etc.). This type of bin is for ages three and up and should be monitored when in use.
Step 2: Wipe Out the Plastic Bin
This ensures the bin is clean before filling and there are no outside items left inside.
Step 3: Prepare Your Filler Objects
Using the scissors cut open any objects or items that are packaged. I also removed the flowers from the big stem (bouquet stem). By just pulling slightly on the flower they easily pull free. Some of the flowers I completely removed from the smaller stem they are attached to, while others I left some of the little stem on. I have given picture examples of both types of flowers: stemless and little stem still attached.
Step 4: Add Your Items/objects
I placed my items randomly in the bin. Many of my items came packaged therefore I had extra items left over. I did not want to add them all due to the size of my bin. How many items you want to add is completely up to you. Bonus: with having extras if some of the objects become worn you can switch them out.
Step 5: Cover Some of the Objects
Covering the bin can be done in two ways: by placing the lid on top of the bin and shaking the bin or by using your hands and mixing the objects with the beans. This ensures that the beans are covering some of the objects, which makes it more fun for the kids to search for them.
Step 6: All Done
Your sensory bin is now finished. Let the fun begin!
Tip: You can either let the kids explore on their own making a comment or suggestion, such as “can you place the blue flower in the pink pot?” this way they are learning about the different colors, as well as placement.
Another option is to place the lid on the bin and the kids can shake or turn the box at different angles and play i-spy. For example “I spy a fly”.